Farmers on warpath, Khattar govt on backfoot – chandigarh
The knee-jerk reaction to farmers’ rally in Kurukshtera — where peasants protesting against Centre’s agriculture ordinances were lathicharged — has put the BJP-JJP government in Haryana on the backfoot.
A major farmers’ movement has started gaining momentum in the state and protesters have announced to block all roads in Haryana on September 20, followed by a statewide yatra from September 27.
The current scenario has fired up the principal opposition party — the Congress – that is looking to corner the government over this sensitive issue. The Indian National Lok Dal (INLD), on the other hand, is also preparing to cash in on this anti-government sentiment of farmers.
The BJP has been struggling to convince the protesting peasants that their apprehensions about the Centre’s three ordinances are unfounded.
Political observers say one of the key reasons behind the BJP’s worry is that a majority of farmers hail from the dominant Jat community that has been at loggerheads with the party since it came to power in October 2014.
The Jats had hit the BJP hard in October 2019 assembly elections. The saffron party (with 40 seats) was six MLAs short to cross the magical mark and therefore formed the government in an alliance with the Jannayak Janta Party having 10 MLAs. The JJP has been keeping the BJP on the edge on this issue.
Dhankar-led delegation to meet Tomar today
On Tuesday, state BJP chief Om Prakash Dhankar will lead a party delegation that will meet Union agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar to hand over a report containing feedback of the agitating farmers against the farm ordinances.
Dhankar had set up a three-member panel to look into the grievances of the farmers. The committee, comprising Bhiwani-Mahendergarh MP Dharambir Singh, Kurukshetra MP Nayab Singh Saini and Hisar MP Brijendra Singh, held marathon meetings with farmers and traders on Saturday and Sunday. The panel handed over report to Dhankar in New Delhi on Monday.
“An atmosphere of fear is being created…rumours are being spread that MSP will cease to exist and the grain markets will be shut,” Dhankar told HT.
JJP asks BJP to clear farmers’ doubts
The JJP, which draws its political muscle mainly from farmers, has been nudging the BJP to clear the misgivings of the farmers. The party has also been keeping the BJP on tenterhooks by giving conflicting statements regarding the three ordinances.
JJP state president Nishan Singh says those in authority must give an unequivocal assurance backed with proof to the farmers that the Centre will not stop foodgrain procurement under MSP.
He said MSP gives security to farmers and the JJP wants this to continue. “We are with the farmers on this issue. The government must apply brakes on the attempts being made to mislead the farmers. The earlier it is done, the better it will be,” he said.
The JJP statement assumes significance as the farmers are mobilising support against the ordinances. The BJP, on its part, doesn’t want the protest to snowball into a major unrest.